The Wine Curmudgeon is checking notes, re-tasting wine, and getting ready for the appearance of the eighth annual $10 Wine Hall of Fame. I'll post it on Jan. 4.
But there is already one piece of sad news. Osborne Solaz, the Spanish red blend that has been a mainstay of the Hall since its inception, is being phased out. The corporate term is “selectively distributed in stores throughout the U.S.,” but the reality is that the wine won't be for sale in the retailers where you used to buy it. (Osborne is replacing the Solaz with a brand called TempraTantrum; hopefully, it tastes better than the name.)
And since it won't be readily available, Solaz is dropping out of the Hall; being readily available is one of the requirements for membership.
Otherwise, despite the weak dollar, 2009 looks like it was a banner year for cheap wine. The only other bottles to drop out did so because the weak dollar pushed their price above $10 – the Falesco Vitiano wines: A solid rose, an even more solid white blend, and a stunning red blend made of sangiovese, cabernet and merlot. The wine is still as good as ever. It just costs $12.